We had an incredible turnout at yesterday’s Harm Reduction and Drug Law Reform (HRDLR) Caucus briefing on juvenile justice in the Commonwealth. I was moved by the personal stories from residents who were incarcerated as young adults, and who fight to provide a better life for themselves and their families every day.
Senator Karen Spilka kicked off the event by underscoring the need for policy changes that will give young people a second chance, and Representative Christine Barber moderated our panel discussion. Among the panelists were DYS Deputy Commissioner Margaret Chow-Menzer and representatives from UTEC, Roca, and Citizens for Juvenile Justice.
Though we heard a myriad of perspectives, there was consensus among the speakers that all young people make mistakes, but those mistakes don’t have to dictate the entire course of their lives. Our state should do its part to rehabilitate young offenders and give them the tools to successfully reenter their communities and contribute to society.
As the Senate Chair of the HRDLR Caucus, I will continue to push for developmentally appropriate interventions and record expungement for young people.